It’s taken 18 days since the new year to put my thoughts into words but I believe I’ve finally found the words that describes my opinion about the Common x Drake feud. Beef is delicious.
Back in late December, 2011, Common openly admitted that his second single ‘Sweet’ from his latest album ‘The Dreamer/The Believer’, was in fact a diss track towards the first name Ever, last name Greatest Toronto MC. Although crediting Drake as a very successful artist and giving credit where credit is due, Common refers to his subminal jabs as a rap battle, stating “It’s just about MCing and once you step in there, you’re in the ring baby—especially if you’re gonna say ‘I’m the champion, I’m the greatest.”
In many opinions this is true. The battle is a true tradition in hip-hop culture. It is what keeps hip-hop raw and witty. But, comparable to the 2007 50 Cent vs. Kanye West beef, this battle is not a clash of who’s hip hop sucks but the chase of hip-hop bucks.
“Back when if a nigga reached, it was for the weapon / Nowadays niggas reach just to sell their record” – Drizzy: Stay Schemin’ on Rick Ross’ ‘Rich Forever’ free mixtape.
A really good friend of mine and fellow hip-hop enthusiast asked me what I thought of the whole rap drama. I carefully replied that Common will forever be hip-hop. He is a pioneer of a neglected hip-hop sub-genre (yup, I said it) and will forever be known as a true MC. Truth be know, Common’s 2005 album is responsible for how I write my initial Be. However, when it comes to this rap battle, it is evident that Common is trying to bring attention to himself and ironically proving there is No Country For Old Men. Responding to Common’s ‘Stay Schemin’ rebuttal, OVOXO affiliate, The Weeknd commented: “That was the worst comeback I’ve ever heard. Reminds me of someone’s drunk uncle”.
I would have to admit to reiterate ‘Sweet’ in a comeback track lacks originality and the line “I’m taking too long with this amateur guy / You ain’t wet nobody, nigga, you Canada dry.” is pretty weak. Really Common, ‘I’m just saying / You can do better?’
What also disappoints me is that back in November 14, 2011 I wrote about Common’s video premiere of ‘Sweet’, commenting on the relationship between the song and the Haiti earthquake relief struggle. It was a bold move to debut the video as a fundraising opportunity for the J/P Haiti Relief Organization however, to suddenly flip it into a Drake diss really displays a mixed integrity.
To not discredit Common, The Dreamer / The Believer is a solid hip-hop album and a refreshing reserve to a sensitive rap movement. With tracks like Ghetto Dreams feat. Nas, Raw (How You Like It), and inspirational tracks like Celebrate, and, Windows, listeners are reminded that Elam has not left rap story-telling alone.
I’m just overall disappointed on how a true hip-hop great could derive into a rap scandal. Where many Common followers give props to the Thelonis’ threat, I’m reminded of Q-Tip’s message to all Phony Rappers: “Let me stop sounding all bitter / Ghetto child, never be a quitter / But don’t be a phony in the litter / Take it as a letter from the better / Take it from a man who used to rhyme in busted ass Jetta’s.”
At the end of the day it’s proven that the rap battles keep MC talents in debate and with today’s easy info-accessible generation; haters gonna hate and bloggers gonna blog. Nevertheless, beef is a reminder that MC’s better keep their rap tools sharp—and excellent entree to any hip-hop conversation.
Stay Schemin': Rick Ross featuring Drake and French Montana